Building Stronger Businesses in 2022
– Ryan Howe, Pinnacle Business Guides
Some scholars have called the pandemic “the greatest workplace disruption in generations,” and 2022 is already shaping up to be another transition year for many companies. We rang in the new year with a new COVID variant, which forced businesses nationwide to press pause on their return-to-work plans once again. In addition, every industry across the U.S. continues to deal with major supply chain issues, inflation and a record number of workers leaving the workforce.
Yet, even though new challenges arise daily, I’ve seen companies and teams of all sizes thrive during these difficult times — and they aren’t doing so by chance. They have the right mindsets, mentors and systems in place to not only weather the ongoing storm but to sustain them through whatever comes their way. Here are the secrets to how they’ve built stronger businesses and how you can, too.
Listen to Your Employees
It’s no secret that companies are struggling to hire and retain workers these days. High demand for workers is opening the door for those workers to demand higher wages and more flexible schedules. But the Great Resignation wave we’ve seen over the past several months isn’t just about pay and burnout. Many employees say they feel truly disconnected from their colleagues and their managers.
If you want to build a strong business in ‘22, start first by listening to your employees. Instead of assuming every employee is the same, ask them what they want and need to succeed. Don’t gloss over what they’re saying but truly listen to their answers. What are their goals? What challenges have they been dealing with, and what do they anticipate facing ahead? As leadership, what can you do to help them thrive?
At Pinnacle Business Guides, we encourage consistent check-ins and quarterly conversations between employees and managers so this type of open and honest communication can happen more easily and frequently. These conversations allow employees to talk about how they’re doing, what’s working and what’s not working. By giving them a safe space, it provides unique insights into how you can help each employee feel valued and supported, allowing your team to flourish.
Address Specific Needs
Once you’ve truly listened to your employees, the next step is to invest in or implement solutions to address those specific needs. For example, do your employees need training, equipment, mental health resources or organizational adjustments to do their jobs well and achieve more work/life balance? Helping employees pursue their goals, including personal and professional growth and development, can be a win-win for your employees and your company.
Not every solution, however, needs to be big and dramatic. Sometimes small changes made consistently over time can make a major impact and can help you build a stronger business. At Pinnacle, we work with companies across all industries nationwide to customize business operating systems that help visionaries scale their summits. We make sure their visions match a changing climate like the one we’re seeing currently. Great leaders find ways to adapt, and strong businesses keep up with the conversations happening today.
Set Clear Work Expectations
According to researchers, 89% of full-time employees in the U.S. say they’ve experienced burnout over the past year, and one of the top culprits they cite is unclear expectations. In our current hybrid/remote/gig work world, it can be confusing for employees to know exactly what’s expected of them, and unfortunately, many are working longer hours because of it. Burnout is an expression of frustration, and frustration is about unmet expectations. When your employees don’t understand how they can succeed or those expectations are constantly changing, they’re less likely to feel engaged in their work and are at a higher risk of burning out.
In order for a company to be healthy and strong, it’s imperative you to be crystal clear about when you expect your people to work, for how long and whether they can slow down or stop to take breaks during their day. For instance, if someone is expected to work 50 hours a week, do they understand the expectation if they complete their work in 45 hours? Logging off early at the end of the week will likely give them a better sense of accomplishment and happiness in their role. When someone doesn’t know what the expectations are and works 50 hours week after week — that’s when burnout occurs. Understanding company standards and expectations will make everyone’s experience at work more efficient and enjoyable.
Empower Informal Leaders
Lastly, empower informal leaders in your organization to help you build a stronger business this year. Informal leaders are people within your company who may not be designated as managers, but who employees feel they can trust and turn to for advice. Informal leaders can be your secret weapon for better change management because they can help you influence and energize your team in a way someone in a position of power or with a formal title might not be able to. Share what initiatives or changes you are planning and how the informal leaders can help support their colleagues through them; if they understand and support your vision, they’ll be a valuable resource for you and your team this year.
At Pinnacle, we help leaders move past a pre-pandemic mindset. Anyone interested in hiring and retaining quality workers and strengthening their business in 2022 can visit our website at pinnaclebusinessguides.com or schedule a call with a local Guide.